Morning encounter

This morning I was a little late walking to the bus stop, so I was walking fairly briskly. As I walked, I passed a lady on my right who was also walking quite quickly. As I passed her, she called out, “I’m not racing you.”

I had no idea why she thought that I would have thought that, so I replied with, “I didn’t think you were. Why did you think I would think that?”

She said it was because she was walking quite quickly, and so was I. I explained that I was walking quickly because I didn’t want to miss my bus. Then she began telling me her story.

She told me that, many years ago, she had been a keen horse-rider. That was until she fell off of a horse, and was then unable to walk. She wasn’t paralysed, but she said that the fall had damaged her joints and muscles so badly that she was unable to walk. She had had many years of therapy, and she said that only recently had she been able to walk again. So she explained that, because she was now able to do something that she could not do for many years, she enjoyed it and wanted to make the most of it. And that is why, she said, she has a brisk walk every morning.

Logically, halfway through hearing her story, I concluded that her regular walking was to keep her legs in good condition, and I was surprised to hear that that was not at all the case, and in fact had nothing to do with her reasoning. So I said, “Isn’t it also important to keep your legs exercised, as if you don’t use them a lot following treatment like that they’re going to just deteriorate again?”

She, in turn, was surprised to hear this. She had never thought of that before, or been told about it. I backed off, saying that I had no formal knowledge of the medical profession, but that common sense told me that regular walking would be important from a health point of view for someone in her situation. She wasn’t upset by this, and my lack of a formal medical knowledge didn’t seem to put her off. She thought about it and agreed that that was in fact a very important point that I had suggested, and thanked me for telling her.

And that was when she started talking about other things. Other, higher things. She told me that she didn’t believe in coincidence; she believes that pretty much everything has a greater purpose, and that apparent “coincidences” serve a greater purpose – just like her meeting me today, to highlight for her a very important health consideration. I told her that I used to think that a lot of things were coincidences, but I have since realised that often apparent “coincidences” carry much more meaning, and that I too was beginning to question whether coincidences really exist, not just in big things as I have previously mentioned but also in smaller, everyday things.

And by that time we had arrived at the bus stop, and she went on into town. As I waited for the bus, I listened to some music. The bus pulled in just as the song finished, probably not by coincidence but because the higher powers know how greatly it disturbs me if a song that I am listening to gets interrupted.

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